Electric South and the Goethe-Institut present the South African premiere of New Dimensions – Virtual Reality Africa, a selection of Virtual Reality productions from Kenya, Senegal and Ghana. These works will show within the Virtual Encounters section of the 2017 Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival.
With more people on the continent taking an interest in creating VR productions, Electric South is funding and incubating virtual reality and interactive media in Africa. Supported by Big World Cinema, Blue Ice Docs and the Bertha Foundation for New Dimensions, Electric South and Goethe-Institut are invested in making African artists and filmmakers part of the foundations that direct the way VR technology goes in the future.
Co-founder of Electric South and curator of Virtual Encounters, Ingrid Kopp has been a curator of interactive and immersive media at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. With this experience she has come to recognize that it is difficult for people to understand what the fuss is about when it comes to VR unless they attend a festival or exhibition. “My aim is to get people excited about what story-driven VR can do – all the different approaches and styles,” Ingrid explains. With this year’s festival taking place in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Ingrid is excited that, “more people will get a chance to see the work and I hope that it will inspire more African creators to make VR.”.
New Dimensions – Virtual Reality Africa offers a view of the continent’s diverse cultural landscape. Included is Ghanaian science fiction author and founder of the Afrocyberpunk website, Jonathan Dotse’s ‘Spirit Robot’. This is an exploration of the vibrant Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra. Viewers can also experience Kenyan photographer Ng’endo Mukii’s layered live footage and animation city poem ‘Nairobi Berries’. The surrealist work of Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane ‘The Other Dakar’ will provide attendees with a magical 360 piece in which a girl is chosen to discover the invisible Dakar. Kenya’s The Nest Collective provide a futuristic thought experiment with their interactive work ‘Let This Be A Warning’ that presents a group of Africans who have left Earth to create a colony on a distant planet.
Virtual Encounters shows from 2 to 4 June at the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, and from 8 to 10 June at The American Corner (Central Library) in Cape Town.